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View special moments and explore the world in 360

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 06 July, 2016, 9:32am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 06 July, 2016, 9:32am

Whether Facebook users are looking to share a vibrant streetscape image or video such as a carnival parade in Rio de Janeiro, a lion dance in Hong Kong, or the celebration of a birthday party, or one of life's must-be-remembered events, Facebook's recently introduced a 360 app that can make everyday moments and momentous occasions seem to come alive.

''For the first time, Facebook 360 aims to make it easy for everyone to create and share compelling, immersive 360 degree virtual reality content,'' says Jayne Leung, Facebook’s head of Greater China.  '' Simply by tilting the phone, viewers can immerse themselves in a scene,'' says Leung.   '' It’s the next best thing to physically being there,'' she adds.

While many Facebook users may take advantage of the 360 function to use as an extension of the photo upload feature by posting 360 degree shots of their vacations and gatherings and special moments, there are other potentially useful applications. A good example would be home owners, real estate agents and buyers who can share and view photos or videos of properties.

To broaden the impact of exciting lifestyle moments, 360 photos and video can be used to capture cool things that celebrities and public figures talk about or the places they visit. Why not try being creative and film or photograph locations the media are writing about, and places for shopping, bars, cafes and hotels? From capturing unique aspects of Fashion Week in New York, Paris, London, and Milan to  behind the scenes to  see a designer’s creative process, the opportunity to  add and share  a new perspective to their images and  storytelling in 360 is resonating strongly with  organisations, businesses and celebrities.

Rock legend Sir Paul McCartney was the first musician to use Facebook's 360 function by posting a photograph of himself with his fans at a performance in Argentina. To let users explore the “Tranquility module” of the International Space Station, the US space agency NASA posted a 360-photos on its Facebook page.  The posting provides viewers with a close-up look of the Space Station's life support systems including how air and water is recycled, as well as the equipment the astronauts use to exercise. There is even a view of the crew bathroom!  Meanwhile, The New York Times used a 360-images to take its readers behind the scenes at the US Supreme Court.

Leung says uploading 360 photos on Facebook involves just a few easy steps. For instance, a panorama image taken with a 360 supported smart phone or tablet can be uploaded to Facebook in the same way as a normal photo. To explore a scene, drag around the video with a cursor or a finger. On mobile devices, users can even just turn the phone or tablet sideways to move around within the video. If the video was recorded on a 360 or spherical camera that automatically adds the 360 metadata, then the process will be the same as uploading a regular video. With such ease of use, Leung says there is a wide range of opportunities for content publishers and storytellers from all walks of life around the world to create and share their own unique 360 photos and videos on Facebook.  ''Our desire is to promote the sharing of immersive experiences through enabling the expression of ideas in a safe and respectful environment,'' says Leung, who believes  the 360  platform supports budding artists by giving them a more accessible channel to showcase their work to the Facebook community.